Janice Lee encourages women to invest in themselves

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March 9, 2022

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Janice Lee cannot stress enough the need for constant self-development. It’s the advice she gives to women looking to grow their own businesses or elevate their careers. “Make a commitment to yourself for lifelong learning and always be intentional in what you want and where you want to be in two-five years. Be prepared to step into the opportunity when it comes. This may mean improving your education or skills sets,” said Lee. The general manager for Caribbean Flavours and Fragrances Limited has worked in the manufacturing industry for 35 years and manages the day-to-day operations of the business. She spoke with Flair about what it is like to be a woman in business.

What would you say is a popular misconception about women in business, and how would you respond/address that?

I believe a popular misconception about women in business is that we don’t support each other and may even fight against each other. The fact is, this may be true for a few of us. However, this is not specific to women as, in my experience, some men do not support their colleagues either. During my years in the workplace, I can say that some of my biggest supporters are from other women. I have been mentored by mature women who have been intentional with their guidance and love, and I have been taught by younger women who are willing to offer support.

What are some of the key factors that have impacted your journey thus far?

I believe that discipline is one of the key factors that have impacted my journey. Without discipline, it is almost impossible to be successful at whatever you do. It begins with simple things such as being on time for meetings, choosing to stay back at work to ensure that the project I am working on is well researched, prepared, and delivered on time. Another area that has impacted me is always striving to do my best in whatever task I am given. I am motivated to deliver excellence in whatever I do; I dislike mediocrity.

What assisted the most in the building of your career?

I believe my determination to learn is one of the things that has assisted me in my career. I believe in lifelong learning. My motto is: No one can take away what I have learned over the span of my career. I have always ensured that I make self-development one of my main goals.

Was there ever a time that you felt stagnant in your career? If so, what was the source of movement from this place?

Yes, there was, and I resigned from that job. Sometimes we stay in jobs even though we are aware that we are at a standstill because we like security, especially if we are single parents. However, I believe that if a woman feels that she is not getting where she thinks she should be in her job and she knows she deserves better, she owes it to herself to look around. Sometimes we do not know our true value and potential until we begin to look elsewhere.

‘Make a commitment to yourself for lifelong learning and always be intentional in what you want and where you want to be in 2-5 years.
Be prepared to step into the opportunity when it comes. This may mean improving your education or skills sets. Self-development is important.’

What would you tell young women who have just started their careers?

Be patient. You will not get to the top overnight; it takes time. Also, prepare yourself. If you want to be manager/head of a department, begin to see yourself in the role. Invest in yourself. Take some courses and ensure that you are ready when the opportunity comes along. Believe in yourself and stay away from negative people and whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities.

Can you identify a key source of motivation for you throughout your years?

One key motivation throughout my journey is my faith in God. I believe that because I have placed my trust in God, He has guided me in making wise decisions when things are not so clear. My faith has given me an anchor that even when the times get difficult, I continue to press on to achieve my goals.

What message would you like to be received by any young woman watching your career journey from the outside?

Be authentic. Too many times, we pretend to be someone other than ourselves because we may believe that we must be a certain way to gain acceptance. Trying to please others may lead to compromising your values and integrity. Never allow yourself to be used by others.

Make a commitment to yourself for lifelong learning and always be intentional in what you want and where you want to be in 2-5 years.
Be prepared to step into the opportunity when it comes. This may mean improving your education or skills sets. Self-development is important.

What advice do you have for women looking to grow either their own business or within the company they work for?

My first advice is to believe in yourself. Be bold and confident that you can achieve whatever you set out to do or be. Be persistent, determined and disciplined to move yourself forward.

Always ensure your support system has people who you can trust and believe in you. They will encourage you when you need to be encouraged. Reach out for assistance when you need it. Sometimes we have to put pride on the back burner because we know what we want to achieve. Remember that it is better to say I have tried than to say I wish I had.

What personal sacrifices have you made throughout your career?

I was a single parent. When I think over the years when my children were very young, there were times that I was not able to be with them for school functions and trips, because of work priorities. I have worked long hours, which included early mornings and late evenings due to meet those deadlines.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken as a professional?

The greatest risk I have taken is leaving a very secure, well paid and comfortable job of many years because I felt the environment had become toxic. I was going nowhere in my role and had to consider the fact that it was time to move on. This decision, I am happy to say, opened my eyes to many possibilities and opportunities. I realised that I had much more to offer as a mature professional woman. Too often, we are afraid to step out. It may be difficult and uncomfortable at first. However, we will never know what awaits until we are bold enough to take that risk.

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